22 May 2009

The Magic Toyshop (Angela Carter)

In picking up this book I broke the golden rule (the golden rule of books that is - not that one about doing unto others) - don't judge a book by its cover. Well, I judged away. And you would have to if you'd seen my edition of The Magic Toyshop. Virago classic hardback, cream with stencilled puppets all over. So whimsical! The story on the other hand, not so much. Too eerie to be whimsical. And the puppets in the book are kind of evil. As much as inanimate objects can be.

Shall I start from the beginning? Melanie's parents die in a plane crash and she and her two siblings move in with an uncle they have only met once, his wife and her two brothers. The uncle is a mean mean mean old tyrant, their aunt hasn't spoken a word since her wedding day, and her brothers are...odd. Read the book to find out just how odd things get. The story kind of meanders along, plot development coming in between long musings about Melanie's becoming a woman. Not that musings aren't enjoyable to read, I love the way Angela Carter writes, but it does not make for a speedy read. Reading on the train to work I'd space out thinking about something Melanie was thinking, and then before you know it I'm jumping up frantically, bag/coffee/book flying everywhere so I don't miss my stop.

AND there were lots of really dark out of the blue moments, like the uncle orchestrating the rape of Melanie by a swan puppet (she is being Leda). (I know that wasn't really related to trains in the morning but I don't care).

A good if really weird book; luckily I like weird so I survived.


P.S. As Alcott mentioned, am having weird (bad weird) things happen to my computer, the hard drive is full of mysterious nothing - 33GB and I have 600MB free. And I don't know what with!! Any tips? So my posting may be a little erratic since it takes 1/2 hour to get my computer up and running at the moment.
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